How Safe Do You Feel?

By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee November 17, 2009

The city just released the results of its bi-annual community survey of police and, depending on how you interpret the data, it's not great news.

As you can see in the delicious-looking pie chart below, about 1/5 of Seattle residents don't feel safe in their own neighborhoods.

Other data shows that 23% of those surveyed said they avoided going downtown because of crime, and that concerns over racial profiling by police have risen in the last two years.

According to the survey, while 70% of those polled think that crime has stayed about the same in Seattle, despite concerns about gangs and statistical increases in property crimes like burglaries and car prowls. However, when you take into account the fact that the department has spent millions of dollars rapidly been hiring and deploying new officers in the last two years, it's probably not great that 26% of those polled think crime is on the rise, while only 4% think it's decreasing.

Generally, people think police are doing a good job, the survey says. However, data shows that people are increasingly dissatisfied with how they're treated by police when reporting a crime. In 2005, 81% of those polled said they were treated professionally and respectfully by officers. In 2007, that number dipped to 80%. Now, it's dropped to 79%. 44% of survey respondents also believe excessive force is a problem at SPD, while 43% said the same thing about racial profiling. More than a third of those surveyed also believe police stop people without cause.

The whole report can be found in the link below (warning: PDF!).

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